Curriculum mapping is a process that organizes learning in both a vertical and horizontal scope and sequence. National and state standards, locally created power standards, essential questions and supporting questions, and essential skills and content are elements organized in a curriculum map. These maps are used as a platform upon which teachers design lessons. They are rarely shared as an instructional tool with students and often they find themselves in a binder on a dusty old shelf.
In Curriculum 21,
Heidi Hayes Jacobs shares a couple of simple but effective ways to
utilize curriculum maps in instruction. At the beginning of a term or
unit, a student can code the map to inform the teacher of his/her prior
knowledge and skills, which inform decisions to support differentiation.
"Green: I know this concept and/or I can do this skill
Yellow: I know what this this concept and/or skill is, but I'm not confident that I can do it.
Red: I don't know what this concept and/or skill is." (pg. 163)
At the end of a term or unit, a student can code the map to assess their
understanding, inform the teacher if re-teaching/support is necessary,
and facilitate student reflection. With this standard, I feel:
N=Not quite comfortable
L=Least comfortable" (pg. 165)
As Jacobs writes, "Many students dread reflection, considering it to be a
waste of time. Many see it as a trap: teachers ask a seemingly
open-ended question, but the students believe that the teacher is only
looking for certain buzzwords or validation about the "value" of the
lesson--a kind of mandatory response." (pg. 164) Grounding reflection
in standards reaffirms the purposes of the unit/lessons, and assures
students that their learning indeed has direction.